Ocean Beach Pier faces possible demolition, report shows

Local

OCEAN BEACH, Calif. – The iconic Ocean Beach Pier has been closed since January and according to a report released this week, that closure could be permanent.

Local leaders are exploring three options for the pier — repairing existing damage in cycles with “egregious locations” targeted first, rehabilitating the structure to extend its life or replacing it entirely, a 2019 draft evaluation report shows.

According to the city, the pier has been damaged multiple times in recent years by high surf, necessitating the recent closure while crews assess its condition.

“Once this assessment is completed, the report will be updated to reflect the findings,” a spokesperson with the City of San Diego said.

The 364-page report written by Moffatt & Nichol, at a taxpayer expense of close to $700,000, found three options going forward.

The report shows repairing damage to the pier is the cheapest option at an estimated cost of $8 million, but if chosen, “the structure will continue to degrade, and the repair cost will escalate with time.” Rehabbing it could extend its life at a cost of between $30 million and $50 million, though it wouldn’t be able to address changes in sea level over time, according to the report.

By replacing the structure entirely at a cost of between $40 million and $60 million, the new pier would have a service life of up to 75 years and would be designed for better long-term stability.

City Council President Jennifer Campbell, who represents the city’s Council District 2 — which includes Ocean Beach — told City News Service that said she had not even heard of the report until an OB Rag reporter brought it to her attention earlier this week.

“The Ocean Beach Pier has been a treasured part of our city since it was opened in 1966,” Campbell said. “But the pier has sustained significant damage through the years. My office has asked for updates on the extent of the latest damage since it was first closed earlier this year. Unfortunately, the recently released assessment report was not made available to my office.

“I thank Geoff Page at the OB Rag for bringing this 2019 report to light which gives us a realistic look at the condition of the pier.”

Denny Knox, executive director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, says she was made aware of the report Wednesday. She’s yet to hear from city officials on any decision.

“It’s a big part of peoples lives,” Knox said.

Knox hopes city leaders communicate with the community so that they can try to find a solution to the problem – and help save the Ocean Beach Pier. She favors a plan to fix the pier in the interim so it’s usable to the public while looking ahead to the future in rehabilitation or by replacing it.

“We want to be a part of the discussion,” she said, “because you never know where the funds will be able to come from and (we’ve) got a lot of members of the public who are very supportive of the pier being here and could maybe help solve the problem.”

Ocean Beach Pier Café owner Chuck Fisher also has not heard from the city about when the pier will reopen. At last check, they told him repairs would start there at the end of the week.

The city told FOX 5 that crews will be at the pier in the coming weeks to repair railing on the deck of the pier up to the bait facility.

“Columns and other structural elements under the pier from the shore to the bait shop have been determined to need future repair and replacement but are structurally sound to allow public access under operational guidelines,” the city said. “Damage to the structure beyond the bait shop is still being assessed and may require repair before the public access is allowed.”

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